Arrest by Police, Stopped by Police

Here is some general guidance if you are stopped or arrested by police.

The law in most common-law countries usually attempts to balance the protection of individual rights and liberties with society's perceived need for practical law enforcement.

In general, the common-law provides that you may refuse to answer questions asked by persons in authority, and you may refuse to accompany those in authority to any particular place, short, of course, of arrest (and subject to certain legislative provisions such as those relating to blood-alchohol tests and motor vehicles).

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See also: ACLU: Know Your Rights When Encountering Law Enforcement US PDF 89.75kb, 08 JUL 08
GayLawNet: Laws (by Country)

GayLawNet®™ Arrest by Police
Updated on -1 November 2016 at 1610L (GMT+11)

Stopped by Police

An important infographic, "Get Home Safely: 10 Rules of Survival If Stopped By the Police", developed by David Miller (founder of the Dare to be King Project) was shared, and, in partnership with CTS, WFYI, Trinity UCC, and SALT, those rules were used to create a short film, "Get Home Safely: 10 Rules of Survival," to bring this critical information to an even wider audience and help keep children safe.

The advice is generally applicable across all jurisdictions.

"Get Home Safely: 10 Rules of Survival If Stopped by the Police"

  1. Be polite and respectful when stopped by the police. Remember that your goal is to get home safely. Your goal is to get home safely

  2. If you feel your rights have been violated, you and your parents have the right to file a formal complaint with the local police jurisdiction

  3. Do not, under any circumstances, get in an argument with the police

  4. Always remember that anything you say or do can be used against you in court

  5. Keep your hands in plain sight. Make sure the police can see your hands at all times

  6. Avoid physical contact with police officers. Do not make any sudden movements and keep your hands out of your pockets

  7. Do not, do not, do not, do not, do not, do not run — even if you are afraid

  8. Even if you believe you are innocent, do not resist arrest

  9. If you are arrested, do not make any statements about the incident until you are able to meet with a lawyer or public defender

  10. Stay calm and remain in control. Watch your words. Watch your body language. Watch your emotions

Remember, your goal is to get home safely.


BlackStarNews: If The Police Stop You: Ten Rules to Help Black Boys Stay Alive 31 OCT 16

Arrest by Police

  1. If you are arrested, you generally have an immediate right to and must be informed of the substance of the charge (if only in general terms). A police officer is authorised to make an arrest if he believes a crime has been committed and may use reasonable force to effect the arrest.

  2. Generally, it is in your interests to be polite and cooperative with the police. Rudeness, voicing your displeasure or giving vent to any anger is unlikely to assist you in any way.

  3. The law in most common-law countries does not take take away your right to silence.
    You do not have to say anything and should not do so until you have taken legal advice.
    Always take legal advice in any event.

  4. Although in general there is usually no legal obligation to state your name and address when requested by police, it is advisable to do so and most common-law countries require you to state your name and address in relation to traffic offences when driving a motor vehicle, if requested to do so by police. You may also be obliged to give the name and address of the owner of the vehicle and submit to a breath test. You are usually also obliged to produce a driving licence.

  5. You may be obliged to answer question in regard to alleged offences in connection with drugs or prohibited plants.

  6. You usually have the right to telephone an attorney or solicitor and to take legal advice.
    This is generally not limited to one telephone call.

  7. You may also have the right to telephone one other person in addition, to let them know where you are. Again, this is generally not limited to one telephone call.

  1. Do not make any (recorded or written) statement or admission or sign a written statement in the absence of legal advice.

  2. Always insist that an attorney or solicitor be present if you are interviewed.

    (Note that some attorneys or solicitors may be reluctant to attend an interview, where there is a possibility of their being subsequently called before the Court as a witness to matters raised in the interview).

  3. If you are asked questions in the absence of your attorney or solicitor, respond by saying:
    "I have received legal advice not to answer your questions at this time".

  4. Make a note of the officer's number and if detained, ask to keep your watch, pen and paper.

  5. As soon as possible after your release write down sequentially what happened and date it.

  6. In some countries legal advice given in the police station may be free.

  7. Bail may be granted by the arresting officer or another police officer authorised under the relevant legislation. There is generally no entitlement to bail after being charged, however, an adult usually has the right to have his application for bail considered by a police officer, magistrate or judge. In some jurisdicitions, persons under 18 years of age may have a qualified right to bail.

  8. When considering bail, the police or the Court will consider:-

    • the likelihood of the person charged absconding or failing to appear;
    • the strength of the prosecution case;
    • the likelihood of the person charged being sentenced to a term of imprisonment;
    • the likelihood of the person charged committing further offences while on bail;
    • the likelihood of the person charged interfering with witnesses;
    • the need to protect the complainant;
    • the seriousness of the offences; and
    • any prior breaches of bail by the person charged


Portions of the above information have been adapted from "You & The Law: A queer eye on the straight & narrow" by Patrick Mugliston.

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